Cost-effectiveness of pharmacy-led versus conventionally delivered antiviral treatment for hepatitis C in patients receiving opioid substitution therapy: an economic evaluation alongside a pragmatic cluster randomised trial

G. Myring (Lead / Corresponding author), A. G. Lim, W. Hollingworth, H. McLeod, L. Beer, P. Vickerman, M. Hickman, A. Radley, J. F. Dillon

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Abstract

Background: Elimination targets for hepatitis C have been set across the world. In the UK almost 90% of infections are in people who inject drugs. Evidence shows community case-finding is effective at identifying and treating undiagnosed patients. The aim of this analysis was to assess, from a healthcare provider perspective, the cost-effectiveness of a new pharmacist-led test and treat pathway for hepatitis C in opioid agonist treatment (OAT) patients attending community pharmacies compared to conventional care.

Methods: In a cluster randomised controlled trial, pharmacies were randomised to the pharmacist-led or conventional care pathway. Mean cost per OAT patient and per patient initiating treatment was identified for each pathway. A Markov model tracking disease progression was developed, with a 50-year time horizon and 3·5% time discount rate, to estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained and the probability of being cost-effective at a £30,000 per QALY willingness-to-pay threshold. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis was performed for a range of drug discounts, re-infection rates, and model assumptions.

Findings: Mean cost per OAT patient (£3,674 vs £1,965) and per patient initiating treatment (£863 vs £404) was higher in the pharmacist-led pathway, due to higher uptake of testing and pharmacist time requirements. Over a 50-year time horizon the ICER per QALY gained was £31,612 at NHS indicative price for treatment (£38,979 for 12 weeks) and 12·1/100 person-years re-infection rate, reducing to £21,027/£10,220/-£501 per QALY gained with 30%/60%/90% drug price discounts and £25,373/£21,738/£14,912 per QALY gained at re-infection rates of 8/5/2 per 100 person-years. At 30%/60%/90% drug discount rates, the pharmacist-led pathway has an 80%/98%/100% probability of being cost-effective.

Interpretation: The pharmacist-led pathway is effective at increasing testing and treatment uptake, with cost-effectiveness being highly dependent on drug price discounts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-682
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infection
Volume85
Issue number6
Early online date25 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2022

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